If you have a 62-inch satellite dish stashed somewhere, you can use it to make a solar powered stove. You don’t need to purchase anything for this DIY project if you have an old satellite dish and a few CDs lying around. This is a simple DIY project that doesn’t require special skills or knowledge.
- If the satellite dish still has its base you can skip this step. If not, you can make a base out of 3” ABS plastic pipe inserted 18 inches into the ground. Fill it with concrete for more stability.
- To attach the CDs to the satellite dish, use 1/8” x ¾” fender washers with #4 by 3/8” machine screws. Use silicone adhesive for the outer layers. If the satellite dish is made of fiberglass, you can use silicone adhesive all the way. Remember that read-only CDs are more reflective than recordable CDs.
- Install a 10 x 12 wire cooker. The cooker must swivel so you can adjust the distance from the focal point, which will change the temperature and permit the use of various cooking vessels.
- Use the original dish adjuster to align the dish, which is powered by a battery.
- To align the stove to the sun, place a sheet of paper under the dish where it swivels. The dish has a hole in the center, and when there’s a circle in the center you’re close to your goal. The reflection of the sun must hit the cooker. Don’t tighten the bolts completely, since the dish needs to swivel so you can follow the sun during the day. The tilt adjuster can be used to position the dish in respect to the elevation of the sun from north to south.
When properly set up, the stove can reach temperatures of 400 degrees Fahrenheit. If you cover every inch of the dish you might get a temperature of 800 degrees, but that exceeds the heat you will need for cooking. Remember to use leather gloves when retrieving anything from the focal point to avoid getting burned.
Even small satellite dishes can be made into a solar powered stove. If using a smaller dish, CDs might not produce the required amount of heat, so you can use stick-on mirrors instead. You can re-purpose your beaten-down satellite dish and make something environmentally friendly and economical in one fell swoop!